Texas Division I Football Rankings: Baylor blows a huge lead and Texas falls again

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Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio and Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

12. RICE

They did it, they actually did it! They beat someone, a Division I program at that, and even better an in conference rival. This is great news for the Rice Owls, and just as much for Mike Bloomgren who has to feel a massive weight come off his shoulders for getting a win this year. He needs one more to tie last year's win record and two more with two games left to show progress. Wow this program has a long way to go, remember a few years back when they were conference champs with 10 wins? I know it was a while back now but man, this program is thrilled to a get a win right now and there was a time not too long ago when they were one of the better teams in this conference. They host The Mean Green this week and they need to win out if they want to show growth from last year.

11. UTEP

UTEP lost to the UAB Blazers and now are on the road to New Mexico State University. Rice won so the pressure is officially on. Previously a loss to Rice next week meant only a tie for worst team in Texas but now a loss would actually make The Miners the 12th worst team in Texas. Someone please have some pride and play to win that game next week. And this week too, please, seriously.


If there was ever a team to have on the schedule post a bad loss then a bye week on a schedule it would be Rice University, right? You would take Rice as one of the worst teams in the country this year and you'd say yes right away if someone offered you them on a silver platter. Like if the waiter brought the wrong dish to your table but it looked better is how excited you would be to see Rice on the schedule after the last few weeks, EXCEPT, Rice just won their first game of the year and may be feeling themselves a little bit.


Troy crushing Texas State is a massive blow to the season for The Bobcats. It probably isn't going to get much better as they face Appalachian State Mountaineers who are ranked No. 24 right now and are looking to keep on winning. All of the losing is why they dropped down to ninth place and there's probably going to be a little more dropping before it's all said and done.


The Roadrunners need to stay focused and just keep an eye on the goal of finishing strong and not quitting on this year. Florida Atlantic comes to town and they are looking to rub salt into any wounds UTSA brings into this game.


In a stunning loss to TCU, Texas Tech was yet again close to winning a big game but this time late in the fourth quarter gave up the lead. This will be the season that got away and should be both a statement of perseverance and "almost." Football is a game of inches and Al Pacino speeches and this is just another example of that. Imagine the scenario where Tech won those close games Baylor, Kansas and TCU, where would they be both nationally and here on this list? Tough to say. Kansas State comes to town and the close calls are likely to continue.


Memphis put a hurting on Houston and it was a bad one. Memphis came to town and did what a lot of teams have done this year, punched Houston in the mouth and they failed to respond in any real way. The losses are piling up and now Houston is going on the road to visit the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes. They are likely to lose this game being on the road against a team that's about as good as they are, so The Cougars are struggling.

5. TCU

A close win is better than a close loss and TCU came out of Lubbock with a close win. With three different loss differentials being a touchdown or less, TCU's whole season much like Tech's will be measured by the close losses rather than the wins. But you can't go backwards and TCU has to travel to Oklahoma and find a way to win if they want to stay bowl eligible.


Texas is now officially in trouble. They've lost all kinds of games they shouldn't have and now are going to Baylor after losing to Iowa State University. It's hard to imagine a scenario where this team pulls it together and actually beats Baylor, but they need to. They need to get it together and start playing good football or they'll go into next weekend.


Coming off a great win against South Carolina, Texas A&M now tries its hat in the role of spoiler as they travel to Georgia and try and ruin the Bulldogs season. Ultimately there's a real chance they could pull off a sneaky win here and derail Georgia's shot at an SEC championship game but it isn't the best bet in the world. A&M has struggled this year in big games having lost to Clemson, Alabama and Auburn.

2. SMU

The Mustangs were in the stables this week with a bye but it gave the President of the AAC time to complain that the College Football Playoff Selection Committee has undervalued his entire conference since it was created. He's right, they have been undervalued but not by enough to whine about it and not by enough to actually make a stink. A few weeks ago I was feeling bad about having A&M as low as I did because yes they were losing but they were playing better teams and I looked up all the rankings, strengths of schedules etc. The fact is simply this, SMU doesn't play the kind of competition that A&M did and even though they were winning, they weren't beating anyone of merit. They still haven't and there's no getting around that really. However this week they go to Navy and they need to win to even stay ranked.


They had been playing close games and coming out on top and usually that makes a team happy to get a big lead, and usually a team that's been winning and gets a big lead knows what to do with it and usually a team in a must win knows they can't mess up. All of that being said, they were up early, they were up big and they blew it. There's no getting around it, this kills any chance of back dooring the playoffs, with wins over Oklahoma and then hypothetically beating Texas this week would have made Baylor a real force with only a few weeks left on the whole thing. Instead they let Oklahoma post a record comeback and then when it's all said and done they have Texas this week. The season is slipping through their fingers like sand in an hourglass.

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We could see some changes to the Astros rotation. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Happy New Year! Baseball New Year that is with Astros’ pitchers and catchers having gone through their first spring training workout Thursday, six weeks to the day ahead of the March 30 regular season opener. One non-critical question to be answered, how will Dusty Baker line up his starting rotation to begin the season. Barring injury or some other fly in the ointment arising, presumably the Opening Night start goes to Framber Valdez. New 64 million dollar man Cristian Javier should get the ball for game two. Then Lance McCullers, Luis Garcia, and Jose Urquidy.

As Major League Baseball further explained the new rules for this season Garcia in particular does have a notable adjustment to make. His heretofore protracted multi-step windup will no longer be tolerated. Pitchers get one step backward and one step forward as part of their motion and that’s that. Anything more is an automatic ball. As a creature of habit it will be an adjustment for Garcia, but really shouldn’t be a big deal.

There is no urgency to get a contract extension done with Valdez since he is under Astros’ control for this season and two more. Still, with Javier now locked in for the next half-decade and new General Manager Dana Brown clearly having brought from Atlanta the “lock up young core guys” philosophy one wonders what numbers it would take to lock in Framber beyond 2025 (Javier also would have been eligible for free agency after 2025). Forgetting money and going purely by what they will do on the mound, if you could only have one for the next five years: Javier or Valdez? Plenty no doubt would go Javier, but note that had the Astros not done the extension his salary would have ranged from three to 3.5 million dollars this season. Valdez is inked at 6.8 million, so with that as the baseline for negotiations it presumably would take more than 64 million if a five year deal is to be struck.

Mr. October

There are Yankee fans who find it heretical that the great Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson is affiliated with the Astros. “Mr. October” has been a Special Advisor to Jim Crane the past couple of years. Reggie is in town this weekend as the Astros Foundation hosts the inaugural Cactus Jack HBCU Classic at Minute Maid Park. If unfamiliar, Cactus Jack is the name of rapper Travis Scott’s record label and own foundation. Anyway, among the sidebars to the event, Jackson is relaunching the “REGGIE!” bar. Back in the day it was billed as “Chocolaty covered caramel and peanuts.” ChocolatY? Whatever. As a kid I thought it was tasty. It was distinctively shaped more like a large praline than, say, a “Baby Ruth” or “Snickers” bar.

Reggie Jackson had a famously/notoriously huge ego. The man walked the walk an awful lot. In his superstar days with the Oakland A’s Jackson once said that if he played in New York they’d name a candy bar after him. After the 1976 season Jackson signed with the Yankees as part of the first offseason of free agency in Major League Baseball. Reggie signed for an outrageous three million dollars over five years. Three million total, not per year. Yes it was 46 years ago but three mil in 1977 inflation-adjusted is still only about 15 million in 2023 dollars. Jackson had an outstanding first season with the Yanks, capping it with the crowning game of his career when he hit three home runs on three consecutive pitches off of three different pitchers as the Yankees closed out the Dodgers in game six of the 1977 World Series. And sure enough just a few months later the candy bar named after him happened.

Jackson showed more flair for the dramatic by homering in the Yankees’ home opener in 1978, at which the fan giveaway was a “REGGIE!” bar. After Jackson connected in the bottom of the first, the field was showered with “REGGIE!” bars.

One of my favorite sports books of all-time is former Yankee relief pitcher Sparky Lyle’s “The Bronx Zoo,” which is an excellent and funny read as basically a long form diary of the 1978 Yankees’ season. In the book Lyle quotes the late Hall of Fame pitcher “Catfish” Hunter as saying about the “REGGIE!” bar, “Don’t ever put a “REGGIE!” bar in your pocket or you’ll get mustard all over your pants,” and “When you unwrap a “REGGIE!” bar it tells you how good it is.” Classic stuff.

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